Our society values equality as a right for all  of our citizens. Yet, the reality is that disparities exist, especially  in health care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010)  defines health disparity as “a particular type of health difference that  is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental  disadvantage.” Health disparities adversely affect specific groups or  populations who systematically experience obstacles to health care based  on several factors or variables.

For  example, members of disadvantaged populations are known to have poorer  health outcomes as compared to more advantaged populations. Lack of  health insurance, poor neighborhoods without quality institutions, lack  of access to health care services, and inadequate health literacy  contribute to the disparity. Social workers can play an instrumental  role in closing these gaps through advocacy, education, policy making,  and program development aimed at minority groups.

To prepare for this Discussion,  review this week’s resources. Consider cultural, racial, and ethnic  diversity in the United States. Think about how these factors are  associated with health and health care disparities.

Post an explanation of health care disparities in a specific minority population. Identify three  nonbiological factors (e.g., public health policy) that might be  associated with health care disparities in the population you selected.  Explain medical social worker roles in addressing the three factors to  eliminate health care disparities in the population.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific  references to the resources and the current literature using appropriate  APA format and style.


Gehlert, S., & Browne, T. (Eds.). (2012). Handbook of health social work (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Chapter 7, “Community and Health” (pp. 143–163)

Gehlert, S., & Browne, T. (Eds.). (2012). Handbook of health social work (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Chapter 4, “Public Health and Social Work”
Section: “History of Public Health and Social Work” (pp. 65–67)
Section: “Common Values” (pp. 70–75)

Coren, E., Iredale, W., Rutter, D., & Bywaters, P. (2011). The contribution of social work and social interventions across the life course to the reduction of health inequalities: A new agenda for social work education? Social Work Education, 30(6), 594–609.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Craig, S. L., Bejan, R., & Muskat, B. (2013). Making the invisible visible: Are health social workers addressing the social determinants of health?. Social Work in Health Care, 52(4), 311-331.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Errickson, S. P., Alvarez, M., Forquera, R., Whitehead, T. L., Fleg, A., … Schoenbach, V. J. (2011). What will health-care reform mean for minority health disparities? Public Health Reports, 126(2), 170–175. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056029/ 

Nguyen, D. D., Ho, K. H., & Williams, J. H. (2011). Social determinants and health service use among racial and ethnic minorities: Findings from a community sample. Social Work in Health Care, 50(5), 390–405.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Robinson, L. M., Dauenhauer, J., Bishop, K. M., & Baxter, J. (2012). Growing health disparities for persons who are aging with intellectual and developmental disabilities: The social work linchpin. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 55(2), 175–190.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

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